When planning to plant a tree, first consult with your local nursery about the tree's characteristics, size and the location you want to put it in your yard. Make sure that the “cute little sapling” doesn’t grow into a giant in the wrong place.
Trees grow until they reach the height and size that their genetic programming dictates. Can you stop tree growth? The answer is both yes and no.
Prune back regularly. Depending on the type of tree, you can maintain a tree's branch diameter through regular pruning practices. This does not stop the tree from growing, but enables you to control the size to a certain extent. Note that on some trees, new wood is where next year's blossoms appear, so you may sacrifice the beauty of some trees by constantly cutting them back.
Plant smart. Often people plant saplings in locations without considering the tree's future growth. This forces them to have to prune heavily or even kill the tree, and even with heavy pruning, the tree's trunk and roots do continue to grow--sometimes with damaging consequences. Find out about a tree's mature measurements and growing behavior so you choose the right location.
Top it. Tree growth tends to occur at the end of branches and at the tree's top. You can cut off the new growth below the growth point to "top" the tree. However, different trees do respond differently--some will send out new growth from either side of the cut, creating a fork in the tree and keep on growing. Some will stop growing up and start growing out.
Choose a dwarf or miniature variety. Many trees have been bred by nurseries to come in dwarf or miniature sizes to accommodate today's smaller yards, which means they stop growing while still relatively small (versus their non-dwarf cousins), and remain more compact and manageable.
Kill the tree. This is the extreme solution, and the only real way to literally stop a tree from growing. As long as the tree is there--unless it's dead--it will continue to grow.
Claudia Newcorn is the owner of marketing & communications agency Acorn Enterprises. She has been a freelance writer and editor for over 10 years. She writes for both businesses and individuals. Her articles appear in print and online newspapers and magazines. She is the author of an award-winning fantasy book, "Crossover".